Kyle Kuzma is one of the very few assets the Los Angeles Lakers boast if they want to upgrade a roster that’s coming off a disappointing first-round exit in the NBA Playoffs. It’s in this that rumors persist Kuzma could be on the trade block this summer. Where might he be moved?
Kyle Kuzma trade to the Detroit Pistons
- Pistons get: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, second-round pick
- Lakers get: Jerami Grant, Josh Jackson
This hypothetical trade makes too much sense for the Lakers. In Grant, they’d be acquiring a 20-point scorer who excels on the defensive end of the court and can hit the three. Last season alone, the 27-year-old forward averaged 22.3 points and 4.6 rebounds on 35% shooting from distance. He can play both the three and four, which would also be a benefit for the Lakers. Add in a double-digit scorer in Jackson, and this would be a huge move.
As for the Pistons, there’s a chance that the rebuilding squad will move off Grant after one season. Detroit is building around youngsters such as Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Killian Hayes. It also boasts the top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Bringing in Kuzma would help up-and-coming general manager Troy Weaver expedite the Pistons’ rebuild.
Kyle Kuzma trade to the Washington Wizards
- Wizards get: Kyle Kuzma
- Lakers get: Davis Bertans, second-round pick
Even after suffering a calf injury in the 2021 NBA Playoffs and following some struggles this past season, Bertans should offer up Washington some trade value. The 28-year-old Latvian is a career 41% three-point shooter and can act as a stretch forward for the Lakers moving forward. It’s an area Kuzma struggled in a season ago, and it’s why he’s seen as expendable.
Meanwhile, Washington just recently selected fellow forward Deni Avdija in the top 10 of the 2020 NBA Draft. It needs a more traditional four to team up with Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook and Thomas Bryant. This would almost make too much sense for both sides.
Kyle Kuzma trade to the Indiana Pacers
- Pacers get: Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, first-round pick, second-round pick
- Lakers get: Myles Turner, Justin Holiday
There’s a chance that the Lakers look to move Caldwell-Pope’s $13 million salary for next season with Kuzma as a way to acquire another upper-echelon player. Obviously, it would also require that the Lakers trade draft picks. In this scenario, they take a player for the Pacers at No. 22 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft and make this trade official afterwards. It’s the only way a trade of this ilk would work given NBA rules about dealing draft picks in consecutive years.
In terms of the hypothetical trade, the Lakers get an elite low-post defender to take some of the onus off Anthony Davis inside. A move of this ilk wouldn’t prevent Los Angeles from re-signing Andre Drummond. It would also give the team a solid bench option in Holiday.
On the other hand, Indiana adds a forward to build with moving forward and doesn’t significantly decrease its talent level under win-now new head coach Rick Carlisle. In fact, rumors persist that the Pacers are looking to move their first-round pick for a veteran player. By acquiring Kuzma and an additional first-round pick, Indiana could realistically bring in another option to team up with the big three of Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert and All-Star Domantas Sabonis.
Kyle Kuzma trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers
- Cavaliers get: Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker, first-round pick
- Lakers get: Larry Nance Jr., Collin Sexton
It’s not yet known if this would be enough to land the enigmatic Sexton from Cleveland. Right now, we have absolutely no idea what his trade value is despite averaging 24.3 points on 48% shooting last season. The 22-year-old guard is not a favorite within the Cavaliers’ locker room, leading to rumors about a potential summer time trade. Boy, would Sexton be a great fit in Los Angeles. In this scenario, the Lakers also add a defensive-minded big in Nance Jr., reuniting with the forward in the process.
As for Cleveland, it nets a traditional two-guard in the high-upside Horton-Tucker (via sign-and-trade) who players like LeBron James view to be a budding star. He would work well with stud young point guard Darius Garland. Meanwhile, Kuzma would start out of the gate at the four next to center Jarrett Allen and wing Isaac Okoro in Cleveland.
Kyle Kuzma trade to the San Antonio Spurs
- Spurs get: Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker
- Lakers get: Dejounte Murray
Boy, would Murray be an immediate upgrade over Dennis Schroder in Los Angeles. He’s also reportedly on the trade block as the Spurs look to retool on the fly under the aging Gregg Popovich. The still-young 24-year-old guard averaged career-bests in points (15.7), rebounds (7.1) and assists (5.4) while shooting 45% from the field a season ago.
In order to make this worth San Antonio’s while, the Lakers would have to give up the talented Horton-Tucker. Simply put, Kuzma’s trade value is not indicative of Los Angeles bringing in Murray without something else to entice the Spurs.
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Author: Vincent Frank